tiffin sambar recipe | idli sambar recipe | hotel style tiffin sambar recipe for idli

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tiffin sambar recipe, idli sambar recipe, hotel sambar recipe

hotel style tiffin sambar recipe - tasty tiffin sambar recipe for idli, medu vada and dosa.

4.5 from 34 votes
total time:
60minutes

tiffin sambar recipe with step by step photos – one of the best tiffin sambar recipe i must say. this hotel style sambar was damn good with the idlis. oh yes… idli sambar and vada sambar are all time favorite at home. not to forget our love for dosa too.

tiffin sambar, idli sambar, hotel sambar

well on this day, i just made idli and not dosa. the sambar recipe was shared by a reader friend priya who writes to me often. she was gracious enough to share her sambar recipe as well as this tiffin sambar.

this tiffin sambar recipe is adapted from revathy shanmugam’s recipe and priya was kind enough to translate and send me the recipe. i did make some changes in the recipe though.

at the first go, i tried and made the recipe and it was so good, that i did get requests for it to make again. even my house help was so much in awe of the aroma of the sambar masala, that she asked me for the recipe as well as the sambar masala powder.

tiffin sambar is usually served with the tiffin snacks – idlis, mini idlis, dosa or medu vada. but you can also serve this tiffin sambar recipe with steamed rice. do give this recipe a try next time you make idlis, dosa or medu vada.

if you are looking for more sambar recipes then do check:

tiffin sambar recipe, idli sambar recipe, hotel sambar recipe
4.5 from 34 votes
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idli sambar recipe

hotel style tiffin sambar recipe - tasty tiffin sambar recipe for idli, medu vada and dosa.
course side dish
cuisine south indian
prep time 30 minutes
cook time 30 minutes
total time 1 hour
servings 4 to 5
author dassana amit

ingredients (1 cup = 250 ml)

for cooking the lentils

  • ¼ cup arhar dal (tuvar dal or pigeon pea lentils)
  • ¼ cup masoor dal (pink lentils)
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder (haldi)
  • 2 to 2.5 cups water for pressure cooking

other ingredients for tiffin sambar

  • 9 to 10 small brinjals (baingan or aubergine) OR 100 grams baingan
  • 1 medium carrot (gajar)
  • 1 medium potato
  • 1 large onion OR 9 to 10 pearl onion or shallots OR 90 to 100 grams onions
  • 3 medium tomatoes OR 220 to 230 grams tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind soaked in ¼ cup warm water
  • 1 cup water added later or add as required
  • salt as required

tempering for tiffin sambar

  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 4 to 5 curry leaves (kadi patta)
  • ¼ teaspoon asafoetida powder (hing)
  • ½ teaspoon mustard seeds (rai or sarson)
  • 1 teaspoon urad dal (husked and split black lentil)

for sambar masala

  • 5 byadagi/bedgi chilies OR 4 to 5 dry red chilies - reduce depending upon the heat in the chilies
  • 11 to 12 large curry leaves or 16 to 18 small curry leaves (kadi patta)
  • 1.5 tablespoons coriander seeds (sabut dhania)
  • 1 tablespoon chana dal (split and husked bengal gram)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
  • ½ teaspoon mustard seeds (rai)
  • ½ teaspoon whole black pepper (sabut kali mirch)
  • ¼ teaspoon fenugreek seeds (methi dana)
  • 2 teaspoons oil

how to make idli sambar recipe

cooking the lentils

  1. rinse both the lentils well and then add them to the pressure cooker with 2 to 2.5 cups water and ¼ tsp turmeric powder.

  2. pressure cook the lentils for 8 to 9 whistles or more, till they are soft and well cooked. 

  3. once the pressure settles down, open the cooker. mash the lentils and keep aside.

making tiffin sambar masala powder

  1. in a small frying pan, heat 2 tsp oil. first add the mustard seeds. 

  2. then add the coriander seeds, fenugreek seeds, cumin seeds, black pepper, chana dal (bengal gram), curry leaves and dry red chilies. 

  3. stir and saute till the spices become aromatic. 

  4. keep aside to cool. don't burn the spices. saute the spices on a low flame.

  5. once the spices cool, grind them to a powder in a dry grinder or coffee grinder. keep aside.

preparation for tiffin sambar recipe

  1. soak the tamarind in warm water for 25 to 30 mins.
  2. later squeeze the tamarind pulp. strain and keep aside.
  3. chop all the vegetables. quarter the onions. peel and dice the carrots and potatoes.
  4. dice the brinjals and add them in water to prevent discoloration.

  5.  chop the tomatoes in small pieces.

making tiffin sambar

  1. in a pan, heat oil first. add the mustard seeds and let them begin to crackle. then add the urad dal and sauté till they turn to a maroonish color.

  2. add quartered onions or halved pearl onions, curry leaves and asafoetida. stir and and saute for 2 minutes.

  3. then add the veggies and saute for 4 to 5 minutes.
  4. add the tomatoes, salt and continue to saute for 6 to 7 minutes more.
  5. pour water. then add the strained tamarind pulp and stir well.
  6. cover simmer until the raw aroma of the tamarind goes away and the veggies are cooked. 

  7. if the vegetables are not cooked, then continue to simmer till they get cooked.
  8. now add the ground sambar masala which we have already prepared. stir.
  9. add the mashed lentils. stir and simmer sambar for about 6 to 7 minutes. 

  10. add water if required depending on the consistency you want. the sambar which is served in the hotels is on the thinner side.

  11. check the taste of tiffin sambar and add more salt if required.

  12. garnish with coriander leaves and serve the tiffin sambar hot with idli, medu vada or dosa.

recipe video

recipe notes

  • you can add your choice of vegetables.
  • instead of tuvar dal (pigeon pea lentils), you can also use a combination of tuvar dal and masoor dal (pink lentils). even moong dal can be used. 

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how to make tiffin sambar recipe

1. i took ¼ cup each of tuvar dal (arhar dal or pigeon pea lentils) and masoor dal (pink lentils). you can also just take overall ½ cup of tuvar dal.

lentils for tiffin sambar recipe

2. rinse the lentils well and then add them to the pressure cooker with 2 to 2.5 cups water and ¼ tsp turmeric powder.

pressure cook lentils for tiffin sambar recipe

3. pressure cook the lentils till they are soft and well cooked. open the lid once the pressure settles down. the lentils should have softened well, so that they can be easily mashed. mash the lentils and keep aside.

cooked lentils for hotel style tiffin sambar recipe

4. in a small frying pan, heat oil and fry the whole spices for the sambar masala. first add mustard seeds. then add the coriander, fenugreek seeds, cumin seeds, black pepper, chana dal (bengal gram), curry leaves and dry red chilies. stir and saute till the spices become aromatic. keep aside to cool. your kitchen will smell fragrant when frying these spices.

tempering for hotel style tiffin sambar recipe

5. once the spices cool, grind them to a fine powder in a dry grinder or coffee grinder. keep aside.

spices for hotel style tiffin sambar recipe

6. take 1 tbsp tamarind.

tamarind for tiffin sambar recipe

7. soak the tamarind in warm water for 25 to 30 mins.

tamarind for hotel style tiffin sambar recipe

8. later squeeze the tamarind pulp. strain and keep aside.

tamarind for hotel style tiffin sambar recipe

9. chop the veggies. for brinjals, you chop them and add them to water, so that no discoloration occurs.

brinjals for making hotel style tiffin sambar recipe

making tiffin sambar

10. in a pot, heat oil first. add the mustard seeds and let them crackle. then add the urad dal(husked and split black lentil). let the urad dal turn into a maroonish color.

preparing hotel style tiffin sambar recipe

11. then add quartered onions or halved pearl onions, curry leaves and asafoetida. stir and and saute for 2 minutes.

onions - making tiffin sambar recipe

12. then add the veggies and saute for 4 to 5 minutes.

veggies - making hotel style tiffin sambar recipe

13. add the tomatoes, salt and continue to saute for 6 to 7 minutes more.

tomatoes for making hotel style tiffin sambar recipe

14. pour water.

water for making hotel style tiffin sambar recipe

15. add the strained tamarind pulp and stir well.

tamarind pulp for making hotel style tiffin sambar recipe

16. cover the pan and simmer until the raw aroma of the tamarind goes away and the veggies are cooked. if the vegetables are not cooked, then continue to simmer till they soften.

making tiffin sambar recipe

17. once the veggies are cooked, then add the ground sambar masala which we have already prepared. mix very well.

add masala - making hotel style tiffin sambar recipe

18. add the mashed lentils.

lentils for making hotel style tiffin sambar recipe

19. stir and simmer sambar for about 6 to 7 minutes. add water if required, depending on the consistency you want. the tiffin sambar served in the hotels is usually thinner. for idlis, dosa and medu vada you can keep the sambar having a medium to thin consistency. for serving with rice, keep the tiffin sambar slightly thick.

tiffin sambar, tiffin sambar recipe

20. garnish with coriander leaves and serve the tiffin sambar hot with idli, medu vada or dosa.

hotel style tiffin sambar recipe, tiffin sambar recipe

dassana amit
Founder, Designer, Recipe Developer, Food Photographer ||

i started vegrecipesofindia.com in feb 2009. it is a pure vegetarian blog and shares recipes with step by step photos that will help you to make delicious and tasty vegetarian food easily.

i am passionate about cooking from childhood and learnt cooking from my elders. having a home science degree surely enhanced my cooking & baking skills which i now share as fool proof recipes on the blog. i am trained both in mainstream indian as well as international cuisines.


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124 comments/reviews

  1. It is good recipe by Dassana Amit

    • thanks.

  2. Hello Dear,

    I was thinking to write from long time… but finally I decided that I will write today..
    One of the top The Best site I ever come across till now…
    This sambar is so tasty that one of my frnd is using this recipe in their restaurant…

    I just follow your recipe and it will be hit…. thanks a lot….
    And most good thing in your site is your response for every comment… helps me to know how exactly will it be…..
    I cant praise you enough…. thanks alot again….
    Regards,
    Shreya.

    • thank you shreya for such a lovely and encouraging comment. it feels good when i get to read comment like yours and does encourage me to share better recipes. thanks again.

  3. Hi
    I prepared sambar…. It’s too good… Thank you for the recipe….. Can we prepare and keep masala powder in large quantities like 250gms……. In that case… How to prepare… Is there any taste difference?

    • thank you nalina for this feedback on sambar recipe. of course you can make the masala, but keep in fridge. just double or triple the proportions to make sambar masala. taste will be same. prepare sambar the same way as you have made this one. any query you can ask me.

  4. Hi Amit..recently I tried your veg cutlets it turned good and yum off course as always … Am going to try this today evening… I wana knw u mentioned to pour some water in step 14 but how much to pour a cup or more than that.. And u suggested not to use onions if fasting ?? .. Thank you plzz reply soon

    • thanks fazila for the feedback on veg cutlet. for adding water in the sambar, i have mentioned the amount in the ingredient list. its 1 cup water to be added later once you add the dal. you can add less or more water as per the consistency you want. onions can be skipped if fasting as per the hindu customs. so it becomes a no onion no garlic satvik sambar.

  5. Great recipe. Excellent explanation and wonderful guidance for newbies like me. Turned out amazing. No more $15 dosage trips. Thanks n cheers mate.

    • Thanks Vik for your positive feedback. Glad to know that you like the sambar recipe presentation.

  6. thanks for this perfect recipe. i wont be going to a south indian restaurant for idlli sambhar any more

    • Welcome Kirti

  7. Can you tell me what type of tamarind you use? Here in North America, in my local grocery stores, I can find the following: tamarind concentrate (the blackish brown shiny pulp), tamarind in the brown shell (looks like a large worm with a crispy black shell, with stringy material and large seeds inside), tamarind paste (comes in a rectangle tray, the tamarind is compressed into a large 1 inch thick rectangle which can then be easily torn into pieces).

    When you ask for a tablespoon of tamarind, what type is it? I have been using the paste, which I soak in boiling water in a bowl and strain out stringy fibrous material and some peels, not too many seeds. It seems to work well. Would you be able to send a photo of what the tamarind looks like when you buy it in the store? Apart from that, all other ingredients are available locally.

    I love your recipes!!!!

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